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WorkSafe New Zealand has accepted an enforceable undertaking from Zespri International Limited, following a fatal quad bike incident on a Tauranga orchard in May 2016.
Following its investigation into the incident, WorkSafe alleged that Zespri had failed under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 to ensure, so far as was reasonably practicable, the health and safety of a worker.
Three other parties have also been charged in connection with this incident.
This is the fourth enforceable undertaking accepted by WorkSafe under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015; a tool that is increasingly being used, in appropriate cases, as a positive alternative to prosecution. This case is one of the first multi-party prosecutions undertaken by WorkSafe.
WorkSafe Manager Technical Programmes and Support Simon Humphries said the decision to accept the enforceable undertaking was appropriate when considering all the circumstances of this case.
“An enforceable undertaking is not usually an accepted alternative to prosecution where an alleged contravention has resulted in a fatality. In this case, the failures alleged of Zespri were not directly causative of the worker's death.”
“The activities outlined in the enforceable undertaking will provide long-term sustainable health and safety improvements in the workplace, industry and wider community.”
“The family of the deceased have been contacted and are satisfied with this outcome”.
Under the enforceable undertaking, Zespri International Limited committed to initiatives including:
- Continuing facilitation of grower health and safety education.
- Implementing health and safety reviews of contractors who contract directly with Zespri for on-orchard services.
- Initiating information campaigns relating to health and safety.
- Sponsoring and promoting the Horticultural Health and Safety Forum.
- Establishing a tertiary scholarship for accredited health and safety studies.
Zespri Chief Operating Officer, Simon Limmer, acknowledges Zespri has an important role to play in promoting health and safety given its central function in the New Zealand kiwifruit industry.
“The interdependent nature of our industry means there are overlapping duties between orchard owners, contractors, post-harvest and Zespri for health and safety. As an industry, we need to work collaboratively to improve safety, and Zespri recognises its position in being able to promote greater awareness and higher standards. Our undertaking aims to deliver benefit for workers in the kiwifruit industry and the communities in which we operate”.
The full enforceable undertaking, together with WorkSafe’s reasons for its decision is available at: Zespri International Limited
WorkSafe will continue to monitor compliance of this enforceable undertaking.